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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism
Berkeley City Council passes resolution to StandupforTibet
Berkeley City Council passes resolution in support of Tibet on eve of China’s Vice-President Xi Jinping’s trip to California.
Media Coordinator : Tenzin Wangmo, 510-682-9024
Authors of the resolution : Tenzin Paldron (PhD Student, Department of Rhetoric at U.C. Berkeley): 510-325-6545, Noah Sochet (Berkeley Peace and Justice Commissioner): 510-898-1583
Berkeley, CA - The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a resolution proposed by two local residents Tuesday night. The resolution recognizes the immeasurable sacrifice of Tibetans who have self-immolated in protest of Chinese political suppression, calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. TIME magazine labeled the current crisis in eastern Tibet the #1 Under-reported Story of 2011, as 17 Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009, 16 of them in the past year alone.
U.C. Berkeley PhD student Tenzin Mingyur Paldron co-wrote the resolution with Noah Sochet of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. Sochet and Paldron originally met in college while working towards anti-war efforts and LGBTQ rights. Their friendship and shared commitment to anti-occupation organizing led to the resolution, with the goal of drawing attention to and sparking dialogue around the immolations.
“Hearing about the immolations filled me with a kind of pain and sorrow I had never before felt as a Tibetan,” says Paldron. “At the same time, these acts are an incredible expression of will and determination, and I believe in their wake something new is being constructed for the Tibetan people, both in China-occupied Tibet and in diaspora.”
The resolution by the City Council “recognizes these acts of self-immolation by the Tibetan people as a reflection of the extremely repressive conditions to which the Tibetans are subjected.” Citing the Arab Spring and anti-Vietnam War movement, it notes that “self-immolation has presented a critical means of political expression in atmospheres of severe political and social repression.”
Representatives from the Tibetan Association of Northern California, the San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress and Bay Area Students for a Free Tibet spoke in support of the resolution on behalf of the estimated 3,500 Tibetan-Americans currently residing in the Bay Area.
“I've been profoundly moved by the self-immolations in Tibet, and am proud to say that my community stands in solidarity with the Tibetan people,” says Sochet. “As Tibetans inside Tibet take brave and unprecedented measures to shine light on the intense suppression they face, Berkeley takes notice and pledges to stand up for Tibet. I know that many communities will follow.”
The full transcript of the resolution can be viewed here : http://bit.ly/zBLK9U